Stone-quarrying harming Ameenpur lake, its environs - The New Indian Express

Stone-quarrying harming Ameenpur lake, its environs

Published: 04th November 2013 10:59 AM

Last Updated: 04th November 2013 01:32 PM

The fragile eco-balance and bio-diversity of Ameenpur Lake and surroundings near Miyapur in Hyderabad are at stake with increasing stone quarrying in the region, with even rock blasting being used for quarrying, which environmentalists say is illegal.

Ameenpur is one of the few water bodies left in the city, which was once famous for its many gardens and lakes. It is the most sought- after haunt of bird watchers as a variety of avian species frequent the lake which has wide variety of fishes, amphibians and reptiles.  A Facebook account of Ameenpur lake showcases some amazing photos clicked of the nature wonders.

A year ago, some trekkers came across another rare find: three caves in a granite rock cropping on the shores of the lake. ‘’It is really a wonder to find such natural rock formation in granite. Unlike sandstone and limestone caves, these caves do not have any  stalagmites and stalactites but are dark and cool even during summer,’’ says a bird watcher, who has been trekking in the area for the past three years.

According to him, the caves, which are about 10 metres deep, 2 metres wide and 20 metres long, look similar to subterranean caves. They are nesting grounds for a species of bats, which prey upon insects, especially mosquitoes. ‘’Now, the illegal blasting of the rocks threaten their abodes and their numbers are decreasing rapidly, with many flying away to find alternate places. The absence of bats will only increase the mosquito population, which as everyone is aware carry wide variety of pathogens causing different diseases to humans,’’ he said and added that the three caves were also suggested for the inclusion in HMDA’s rock heritage sites.

Another environmentalist involved in lake conservation in the city says that absence of natural deterrent to the mosquitoes population is a cause of worry. ‘’Each link in the vast natural chain is vital and disturbing a single link will affect the whole. Ultimately, it is humans who have to pay the price,’’ she explained.

There are also complaints that more rock blasting is being done during during Diwali time as the rock-blasting can be carried out under the cover of cracker explosions that rend the air. ‘’It is rather unfortunate that officials have not taken steps to address the issue.

When we say ‘protect the lake’, we mean to say ‘protect the lake system that consists of everything that depends on the lake or associated with it, be protected. The three caves in granite rock cropping are unique structure and also nest bats, which keep a check on mosquito population of the lake, hence they too must be protected,’’ says Lubna Sarwath, convener of SOUL (Save Our Urban Lakes), an NGO focused on conserving the lakes of Hyderabad.

She says that rocks and lakes are miracles of nature and they take eons to materialise and once gone, it is for ever, there will be no repeat. People, who too share her viewpoint, are using social media to urge the authorities to get into the act and save the lake and its bio-diversity.

On Ameenpur Lake Facebook account a bird lover says, ‘’Save it before it disappears. Take up with the panchayat so that it is not encroached. Take up with the environmentalists and pollution board to remove the stone crushing units around it. Take up with the villagers that the birds are not disturbed and killed.’’

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